In Brief

Former Romanian PM Launches New Party

Former Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos announced on March 30 the creation of a new political party, Romania Impreuna (Romania Together). The announcement comes after months of speculation regarding the intentions of Mr Ciolos and his Romania 100 thinktank ahead of next year’s presidential election and parliamentary elections in 2020. While the former prime minister and EU commissioner has yet to take a decision on whether to stand for president or not, it is widely believed that he views the post as lacking real power, and would prefer an executive role.

“In December of last year we made it clear that a political party would be formed from the core of the Romania 100 platform,” said Mr Ciolos. “The ethos of Romania Impreuna is based on the values of honesty, competence, decency, transparency and the belief that everyone is important and has their role to play. All solutions to Romania’s problems should have these values as their starting point.”

An agronomist by training, Mr Ciolos was briefly Romanian Minister of Agriculture in 2009 before moving to Brussels to become EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Regional Development in the commission of Jose Barroso. He served as Romanian PM at the head of a broadly independent government from November 2015 to January 2017, having been appointed by President Klaus Iohannis in the wake of the fire at the Bucharest club Colectiv. The fire, which killed 64 people, was followed by huge anti-corruption protests which forced incumbent Victor Ponta of the PSD to resign.

During his short term in office Mr Ciolos was able to introduce a number of administrative reforms, including a huge reduction in the amount of bureaucracy both businesses and individuals need to deal with. Since the PSD returned to office in January 2017 following a general election (in which Mr Ciolos did not stand), many of the reforms carried out during 2017 have been reversed.

The new party is expected to draw support from the centre-right of Romanian politics, and founding members include Vlad Voiculescu, a hugely popular former health minister. Mr Ciolos himself has said that the party is neither right nor left. “These are abstract terms,” he said. “What matters are values.”

The new party’s commitment to transparency and best practice solutions make a parliamentary electoral alliance with the Save Romania Union – itself only two years old and equally committed to honesty in politics – highly likely.

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